In the most ancient wine area of the Controlled Denomination of Origin (DOC) “Oltrepò Pavese” in North-West Italy, foothills of the Apennine mountains, the soils of 14 representative vineyards managed for about 10 years with tillage (T) or natural grass-cover (G) or the alternation of the two methods between the rows (GT), were compared for their contents of organic matter, main soil parameters and extent of root development, in the first meter of depth. The soils are fine textured, sometimes calcareous, with low levels of organic matter. G and GT soil treatments showed higher organic matter content (on average 1.4%) than T (0.88%). Better root development (number and area) was observed in G and GT, in comparison with T; the number and size of roots showed a positive correlation with the soil organic matter.
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